‘Big & Caring Heart’: Laura Dixon tackles adversity with grace and shows up for family and friends with selflessness and care

Ryan and Laura Dixon had just started dating when they took a trip to Colorado and Ryan had to help her traverse what he calls an “old, rickety” walking bridge. He remembers that experience as one that stretched comfort zones and marked a small leap of faith for both of them.

Laura hadn’t done much quite like that outdoors experience, which included the very commitment to travel from Pennsylvania to Colorado and her ziplining experience, so her willingness to take those chances was a big deal to Ryan. They’ve since done bigger, bolder life adventures together, but Colorado will always be a special part of their origin story.

“She got out of her comfort zone and traveled nearly across the country with me and also went ziplining,” Ryan said. “She had never done that before and trusted me to get her safely back onto the ground from the zipline and the bridge, which meant a lot to me.”

Ryan has since seen that level of investment from Laura in all of her relationships, including their late daughter Avery (7) and their son Ryley (5). Not a moment goes by that they don’t think of Avery or try to honor her, but Laura is also highly motivated to make the most of every second watching Ryley grow up.

The same goes for her relationship with Ryan, of course, along with her entire family and all her friendships. Laura is committed to being there for people and pouring her whole heart into the lives of others, including her students as a school counselor in Dallastown Area School District.

It’s one of the qualities Ryan admires most in her.

“She is always there for everybody and has such a big and caring heart,” Ryan said. “Laura puts her all into her relationships and is a role model for her younger cousins. I admire her strength, especially after we lost our daughter, Avery.

“She is also so dependable and reliable. I know she is always there for me, or our children or any member of our families and friends. Laura is very committed to her job, and students know she will always listen to them and give them sound advice. She is always trying to put her students in the best possible position to succeed.”

Laura is also focused on giving back to her community, which she does through the charity she and Ryan started called Avery Marie Against AFLP. It’s an important part of who Laura is and a great way to honor their daughter and help raise awareness in the fight against the disease that took their daughter’s life.

Laura’s reliability and her loyalty to those efforts and all her loved ones are strengths of hers that leave a mark wherever she goes.

Together, she and Ryan love concerts together, neighborhood walks with Ryley, board games, Ryley’s activities and even taking naps. If it means family time together, Laura is still down for just about anything, including following along with Ryan’s outlandish ideas.

“I always know I have her support, but her strength and determination probably impresses me the most and makes me want to be better,” Ryan said. “She has a very demanding job that is emotionally and mentally draining, but she always gives her best to our family. We will struggle the rest of our lives living without our daughter, but Laura gets up and faces each day and tries so hard for our family and herself.”

Through laughter and tears and every stop in between, Ryan leans on Laura and counts her as the most amazing person he knows. He sees her cherishing the good times and battling through the tough times with grace, and he admires her more and more each day.

Laura is the cornerstone of her family and the best kind of mother, wife and friend..

“It has been my honor and privilege to be Laura’s husband and the father to our children,” Ryan said. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life and parenthood.”big and caring heart

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